Single-Serving Masks: Travel-Friendly Skin Revitalizers

Travel-friendly masks make so much sense. (Photo: Kenneth Willardt/Trunk Archives)

What is it about going on a trip that seems to give your skin carte blanche to freak out? Blame it on dry, re-circulated airplane air, stress, or the fact that I regularly use vacation as an excuse to throw my healthy, skin-friendly diet out the window, but no matter the cause, it’s definitely not a good look.

So, in preparation for my skin’s many moods, I’ve taken to traveling with face masks. First, it was TSA-friendly dry powder masks like Fig + Yarrow’s clay versions (I like the Gold). Then, sheet masks became a thing and I stocked up on all my favorites like Karuna and Dr. Jart+, terrifying my fellow passengers when I opted to apply them mid-flight.

Recently, it seems that the beauty industry has caught on to the travel masking trend and come up with an even more genius solution: Single serve masks. From Peter Thomas Roth to cult Korean brands, there are now grab-and-go masks for every skin woe. Bonus: They’re all under 1 oz. and cost less than $15! Here are my top picks to stash in your bag:

Nugg Masks ($3)
Formulated with high-quality natural oils and extracts, these cute masks come in single-use packets that look a whole lot like the jelly containers you might find at a roadside diner. They’ve got six different mask types, from soothing to exfoliating, all formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, or other nasty ingredients. I like to keep one of each in my carry-on bag. You can never be too prepared.

Lindsay Modeling Masks ($6)
Think of modeling masks as your first class upgrade from economy sheet masks. A staple of Korean spas, rubber masks fully conform to your face (so yes, you can still channel Hannibal Lecter for your selfies), delivering nutrients to your face without missing a single spot. The Lindsay masks come in Cup Noodles style containers filled with powder. All you have to do is add water, apply to your face, and peel off the rubbery mask (now in the form of your face) after 15 minutes. There are five options to choose from, but my favorites are Cool (perfect for slightly sunburned skin) and Vitamin (good for brightening your skin). 

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask Pods ($8)
Talk about bang for your buck. For $8, you get four single-use pods of Origins’ number-one selling charcoal mask. If your skin is feeling a little clogged, this mask is what you need. The activated charcoal will draw out even the deepest impurities, while white china clay will clear the skin of excess oil and dirt. For a DIY spa experience, apply this mask after a hot shower, and let the steamy air optimize cleansing.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask ($9)
First Aid Beauty has a cult following for a reason: their products are kind of stellar. After a long plane ride (or if you’re brave, during), this super-hydrating mask is a game changer. The colloidal oatmeal and botanical extracts (think sea buckthorn, camellia, chrysanthemum and more) are ultra-soothing to my sensitive skin. 

Related:

Face Masks 101: Why (& How) to Use Them

Flight Attendants Share Their Travel Beauty Secrets

10 Beauty Tips for the Frequent Flyer